President Uhuru Kenyatta has today signed into law 9 Bills and among them was the access to information bill. The bill was aimed at effecting Article 35 of the Kenyan Constitution which provides for citizens’ right to access to information held by the country. Prior to the enactment of the new constitution in 2010, Kenyans could not readily access information held by the state, a situation that has since improved. The new law seeks to not only improve this process but expand it to ensure the information provided is both timely and accurate.
With the law, Kenyans will have the ability to seek information from public bodies or information held by another person and required for the exercise or protection of any right. Private organizations that receive public resources and benefits, utilise public funds, engage in public functions, provide public services or have exclusive contracts to exploit natural resources will also be required to share this information. The new law further requires the CEOs of these bodies to take up the role of facilitating access to information within a period of 21 days.
The Access to Information law will also require that the government publishes facts relevant to policies being enacted and which may affect the general public. The role of this is to foster inclusiveness of the citizenry in government. Public organizations, on the other hand, will be required to share information about their operations, the employees within the organization and their salary scales.